Shipping looks promising toward 2030 emissions goal

New report points to significant progress on emissions goal by the shipping industry, national governments, and positive developments at the IMO. 

New report points to significant progress on the 5% emissions goal by the shipping industry, national governments, and positive developments at the IMO. 


The shipping industry is working towards full decarbonization by 2050 at the latest and last year an action plan was launched. Hence, both private and public actors can focus their collective efforts around this and the coming decades. 

The first-of-its-kind ‘Climate Action in Shipping Report – Progress towards Shipping’s 2030  Breakthrough’, launched on the 21st of September during New York Climate Week, prior to the Global  Maritime Forum Annual Summit, and in parallel with the Clean Energy Ministerial Global Clean Energy Forum. This marks a significant milestone on the road to COP27 and provides an honest stocktake of progress to date. Thus, highlighting where coordinated effort and collaboration are needed. 

The report finds there has been “significant progress from industry, national governments and positive developments at the IMO”. However, converting those commitments into concrete developments is vital for further progress. 

The leaders of the study were, Katharine Palmer, Shipping Lead for the UN High-level Climate Champions team, and Domagoj Baresic, Consultant at UMAS. Particularly, they evaluated the 2030 breakthrough emissions goal against key levers for change, which include: technology and supply, finance, policy, demand, and civil society action. 

Getting to Zero

The Getting to Zero Coalition is an industry-led Coalition of more than 200 members from across the maritime value chain in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the Global Maritime Forum. Note that, it has contributed to the effort by validating the progress against the five levers of the action plan. In this regard, it held a Workshop in Copenhagen in June with Coalition members. Therefore, providing significant input from the industry on the way forward to achieve actions. 

SZEF Status

In terms of progress on technology and supply of SZEF (Scalable Zero Emission Fuels), the report found that shipping is only ‘partially on track’. Note that, there are more than 200 shipping decarbonization pilot and demonstration projects in the pipeline. Hence, showing progress regarding bunkering and safety guidelines internationally. But, moving from pilots to SZEF production commitments, investments, and infrastructure development is now a key requirement. 

This report provides evidence for the significant progress which has been made to decarbonize shipping, yet at the same time shows that further significant action is required. The evidence presented shows now is the time to take the necessary actions to ensure that by 2030 the industry is committed to a  decarbonization trajectory.” 

Domagoj Baresic, Consultant at UMAS

Based on UMAS analysis, the industry will expectedly have to commit to investing around US$40 billion annually by 2030 for SZEF bunkering and production. Specifically, pointing to the need for greater clarity on funding commitments for SZEF production infrastructure. 

It adds that current orders for SZEF-ready ships should increase further. In the meantime, a genuine zero carbon freight market will expectedly emerge. 

On policy, it is vital that positive policy signals translate into firm agreements at the IMO in 2023. For instance, consensus on pricing GHG emissions. Considering that the coming year offers an important window of opportunity before the revision of the IMO’s Greenhouse Gas Strategy.

To achieve the 2030 Breakthrough goal we need near-term project level action describing  tangible, collective action required. This report acts as an honest stocktake of progress which  needs to continue to be monitored and tracked. In the run -up to COP27, this is an important  milestone to signal a true shift to delivery to convert these commitments and pledges to actions  and solutions” 

Katharine Palmer, Shipping Lead at the UN High level Climate Champions team

Source: UMAS

See Also

As the maritime industry begins navigating its way to decarbonization, shipowners face challenges in finding the ideal zero-carbon fuel for their purposes. Thus, nuclear power generation for shipping comes into play. Considering that the lack of bunkering infrastructure creates a major hurdle for many of these alternative fuel options.

Nuclear shipping to solve climate change?
Will Nuclear shipping solve climate change?

Nuclear shipping to solve climate change considering the lack of bunkering infrastructure for many of the alternative fuel options.

Ship Nerd